TSA Fights The Real Problem – Bloggers

The best way to keep our skies safe.

So, let’s pretend you’re with the Transportation Security Administration (TSA). The TSA, created shortly after 9/11, provides security for the nation’s transportation systems. Employing approximately 50,000 people, the TSA “ensures your travels – by plane, train, automobile or ferry – are safe and secure.”

After the recent “incident” (this is what the TSA calls it) where an airline passenger successfully brought an explosive device onto an American bound plane, the TSA initiated new travel directives. Apparently, one of these directives includes the seizing of computers owned by bloggers who discuss the new directives.

Steven Frischling, a well respected photo-journalist, received a visit from several TSA agents who seized his laptop and “promised to return it.” Mr. Frischling recently published directive SD-1544-09-06, which basically described pat-downs and physical inspections on 100% of all passengers (read the full text below). As to why Mr. Frischling posted this memo, he stated:

I received it, I read it, I posted it. Why did I post it? Because following the failed terrorist attack on the 25th of December there was a lot of confusion and speculation surrounding changes in airline & airport security procedures.

We are a free society, knowledge is power and informing the masses allows for public conversation and collective understanding. You can agree or disagree, but you need information to know if you want to agree or disagree. My goal is to inform and help people better understand what is happening, as well as allow them to form their own opinions.

Chris Elliot, a seasoned journalist, also received a visit from the TSA, who presented Mr. Elliot with a subpoena requesting all documents, emails, and faxes concerning TSA Security Directive 1544-09-06. The subpoena, complete with spelling errors, required this information no later that December 31, 2009.

Mr. Elliot advised the TSA agent that he would be consulting his attorney before answering any questions or responding to the subpoena.

What the fuck is wrong with the TSA?

Note: I actually tried to come up with a different phrase for that tagline; I truly did. Every time I think about the TSA investigating bloggers for publishing a government directive, the initial thought springing to my mind is still… “what the fuck???” So, the tag line remains.

In my opinion, the TSA simply does not work. I’ve quoted it before, and I’ll quote it again. One of my personal heros, Benjamin Franklin, said it best:

Those who would give up Essential Liberty to purchase a little Temporary Safety, deserve neither Liberty nor Safety.

After the December 25th “incident,” Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano stated “the system worked.” Let’s think about that. But, let’s also crudely summarize the “incident:”

  1. A father calls the US Embassy in Nigeria and says he’s worried about his son’s (Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab) extremist views. (An investigation is started)
  2. Much later, Abdulmutallab boards a plane to America with explosive materials.
  3. Abdulmutallab unsuccessfully detonates his explosive devise during landing.
  4. A passenger on the plane (Jasper Schuringa) jumps on Abdulmutallab (now on fire), tries to put out the fire, and physically restrains Abdulmutallab until he can be handcuffed.
  5. Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano states “the system worked.”

Unless the system means placing Jasper Schuringa in the same row as someone who has brought an explosive device onto a plane, then I’m at a loss for how the system worked.

Then again, I would not expect anything different. Saying that the system worked was meant, I assume, to make passengers feel safe, and continue flying. This essentially is exactly the entire purpose of the TSA.

The TSA provides only an illusion of security. The liberties you sacrifice to the TSA provide you nothing more than a “feeling” of safety. They are the David Copperfield of security. You leave thinking something magical happened, but it’s just an illusion.

That being said, wouldn’t it be great if instead of a David Copperfield approach, the TSA modeled themselves after Penn & Teller. Talk about a 180. I’d volunteer my bags to Penn & Teller. Those guys are just amazing.

Transparency in Government

My Administration is committed to creating an unprecedented level of openness in Government.  We will work together to ensure the public trust and establish a system of transparency, public participation, and collaboration. Openness will strengthen our democracy and promote efficiency and effectiveness in Government. — Barack Obama

When someone tries to blow up an airplane, one expects there to be actions against that individual. One should not expect to subject themselves to a physical search by the government simply to board an airplane.

Reporting the actions of the government and publishing the directive that 100% of passengers are to be searched cannot be considered a crime. If anything, it’s the most American action taken since 12/25.

As we head into 2010, I wish everyone a safe New Year’s. I hope you enjoy the Holiday as freely as you wish, and maybe, if you would, take the time to send some support to Chris Elliot and Steven Frischling.

Suggested Readings:

About Fred Posner

Fred Posner designs, implements, and supports VoIP solutions through The Palner Group and LOD favoring Open Source solutions (such as Asterisk, FreeSWITCH, and Kamailio). Please contact Fred via qxork.com. Fred also bakes with his beautiful wife at Bearkery in Gainesville, Florida.

Mmmm... lets get a Big Fred Cookie.

18 Responses to “TSA Fights The Real Problem – Bloggers”

  1. Fred Posner says:

    blogged: TSA Fights The Real Problem http://bit.ly/badtsa My last rant of 2009?

  2. If you care about "security" you need to read: TSA Fights The Real Problem – Bloggers http://bit.ly/8humKE

  3. Sean Harlow says:

    RT @fredposner: blogged: TSA Fights The Real Problem http://bit.ly/badtsa My last rant of 2009?

  4. voipusers says:

    RT @randulo: If you care about "security" you need to read Fred's blog: TSA Fights The Real Problem – Bloggers http://bit.ly/8humKE

  5. RT @randulo: If you care about "security" you need to read: TSA Fights The Real Problem – Bloggers http://bit.ly/8humKE

  6. [...] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Fred Posner, kunta bear. kunta bear said: RT @fredposner blogged: TSA Fights The Real Problem http://bit.ly/badtsa My last rant of 2009? [...]

  7. Please read and RT @fredposner: blogged: TSA Fights The Real Problem http://bit.ly/badtsa #tcot

  8. Maxim says:

    blogged: TSA Fights The Real Problem http://bit.ly/badtsa My last rant of 2009? (via @fredposner)

  9. Social comments and analytics for this post…

    This post was mentioned on Twitter by fredposner: blogged: TSA Fights The Real Problem http://bit.ly/badtsa My last rant of 2009?…

  10. [...] This post was Twitted by grshorwich [...]

  11. Fred,

    Right you are. Security is just an illusion. It’s a feeling or an impression. You can’t have a bag of it, nor can you quantify or qualify it in any meaningful way.

    TSA is essentially a PR agency. They inflict such inconveniences and indignities as necessary to give the impression that the matter is well in-hand. When it probably isn’t.

    Their knee-jerk reactions are based on the desire to do ever-more, which plainly isn’t possible. Every time the issue some new directive it reveals them to be the keystone cops that they truly are.

  12. [...] fellow VUC alumni Fred Posner has a nice post today about TSAs behavior over the past week or two; TSA Fights The Real Problem – Bloggers. I find myself in agreement, and as a blogger I wonder if they find me to be a threat passenger [...]

  13. topsy_top20k says:

    blogged: TSA Fights The Real Problem http://bit.ly/badtsa My last rant of 2009?

  14. Fred Posner's post about TSA and security deserves consideration: http://bit.ly/8humKE

  15. Britain W. says:

    Have you read Penn’s story of his epic incident with the TSA?

  16. [...] visit to blogger Steven Frischling's Connecticut home be just another trickle-down result of DHS …TSA Fights The Real Problem – Bloggers | Fred Posner dot comSteven Frischling, a well respected photo-journalist, received a visit from several TSA … Mr. [...]

  17. RT @fredposner: TSA Fights The Real Problem – Bloggers http://bit.ly/badtsa

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